Alaska; Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 111 (Tuesday, June 9, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 111 (Tuesday, June 9, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35181-35191]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-10877]
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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
National Park Service
36 CFR Part 13
[NPS-AKRO-27791; PPAKAKROZ5, PPMPRLE1Y.L00000]
RIN 1024-AE38
Alaska; Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves
AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.
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SUMMARY: The National Park Service amends its regulations for sport
hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska. This rule removes
regulatory provisions issued by the National Park Service in 2015 that
prohibited certain sport hunting practices otherwise permitted by the
State of Alaska. These changes are consistent with Federal law
providing for State management of hunting and trapping in Alaska
preserves.
DATES: This rule is effective July 9, 2020.
[[Page 35182]]
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donald Striker, Acting Regional
Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK
99501. Phone (907) 644-3510. Email: [email protected].
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
Background.
 On October 23, 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) published a
final rule (2015 Rule) to amend its regulations for hunting and
trapping in national preserves in Alaska. 80 FR 64325. The 2015 Rule
imposed prohibitions on certain types of harvest practices that are or
could be authorized by the State of Alaska in national preserves. The
specific practices addressed by the rule are: Taking any black bear,
including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites;
harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including
pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking
swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking
black bears over bait; and, using dogs to hunt black bears. In
addition, the 2015 rule prohibited any State authorization or
management action from being allowed in Alaska preserves if it related
to a predator reduction effort, meaning with the intent or potential to
alter or manipulate natural populations or processes in order to
increase harvest of ungulates by humans. The prohibition of these
practices is inconsistent with State of Alaska hunting regulations
found at 5 AAC Part 85.
 Since early 2017, several actions have occurred which lead the NPS
to reconsider portions of the 2015 rule that affect hunting and
trapping opportunities on Alaska preserves and contradict State harvest
regulations and wildlife management decisions. On March 2, 2017,
Secretary Zinke signed Secretary's Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship
and Outdoor Recreation, in order to ``enhance conservation stewardship,
increase outdoor recreation, and improve the management of game species
and their habitat.'' On September 15, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed
Secretary's Order 3356, Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and
Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with State,
Tribes, and Territories, to ``enhance and expand upon Secretary's Order
3347 and further implement the recommendations provided by the
Secretary.'' On September 10, 2018, Secretary Zinke issued a memorandum
to the heads of Department of the Interior bureaus recognizing States
as the first-line authorities for fish and wildlife management and
expressing a commitment to defer to States in this regard except as
otherwise required by Federal law. The memorandum further directed
agencies to review all regulations, policies, and guidance pertaining
to fish and wildlife conservation and management, specifically
provisions that are more restrictive than otherwise applicable State
provisions.
 Additionally, on April 3, 2017, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
rule for Alaska National Wildlife Refuges that was nearly identical in
substance to the aspects of the 2015 Rule at issue in this rulemaking
was repealed under the authority of the Congressional Review Act. See
Public Law 115-20, 131 Stat. 86. House and Senate sponsors of the law
strongly criticized those aspects of the NPS's 2015 Rule, e.g., 163
Cong. Rec. H1260 (Feb. 16, 2017), S1864-69 (Mar. 21, 2017), but
acknowledged that repeal through the Congressional Review Act was time-
barred, id. at S1868 (remarks of Sen. Murkowski). With the passage of a
joint resolution of disapproval, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
cannot promulgate substantially similar regulations until specifically
authorized by law. 5 U.S.C. 801(b)(2). While refuges operate under
different frameworks than national preserves, this action by Congress
was taken into account when interpreting consistency with the
authorities and principles that were common to both rulemakings,
including statutory requirements for wildlife management activities to
be carried out under State law, as well as in considering how to
complement regulations on surrounding lands and waters to the extent
legally practicable.
 In light of the aforementioned actions and resulting analysis, the
NPS has revisited its approach regarding the authorizations that are
the subject of this rule, focusing on the statutory scheme that
requires the management of hunting and trapping in preserves under
State law and reserves limited closure authority to NPS for enumerated
purposes. This rule complements State regulations by more closely
aligning harvest opportunities in national preserves with harvest
opportunities on surrounding lands. See Secretary's Order 3347, Sec. 1
and 2; and Secretary's Order 3356, Sec. 4.b.(4) and 4.d.(7); September
10, 2018, Memorandum. As mandated by the Alaska National Interest Lands
Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), Public Law 96-487, 94 Stat. 2383,
the NPS has consistently deferred to State laws, regulations, and
management of hunting and trapping, other than for subsistence uses by
rural Alaska residents under Federal regulations, in national preserves
since their establishment in 1980. This rule acknowledges this
longstanding deference to State law required by statute in removing the
hunting and trapping prohibitions identified in this rule.
 Both the 2015 rule and the individual preserve closures that
preceded it were intended to prevent any ``conflict with laws and
policies applicable to NPS areas that require preserving natural
wildlife populations'' and the State authorizations at issue in this
rule were not ``allowed on NPS lands'' for that reason. 80 FR 64326-27.
The harvest prohibitions were based on a view of the NPS legal and
policy framework that was at odds with statutory mandates, and not on
concerns over wildlife population-level effects from allowing those
uses. 80 FR 64334. The NPS has carefully reassessed whether the State
hunting and trapping authorizations applicable within Alaska preserves
are prohibited by other law or policy.
 As a part of the National Park System, each preserve must be
``administered in accordance with the provisions of any statute made
specifically applicable to that area.'' General Authorities Act of
1970, Public Law 91-383, Sec. 2(b), 84 Stat. 826. ANILCA specifically
provides that ``the taking of fish and wildlife for sport purposes and
subsistence uses, and trapping shall be allowed in a national preserve
under applicable State and Federal law and regulation[.]'' 16 U.S.C.
3201. The Alaska Statehood Act of 1958 provided for the transfer of
``the administration and management of the fish and wildlife resources
of Alaska'' from the Federal Government to the State of Alaska. Public
Law 85-508, Sec. 6(e), 72 Stat. 341; Executive Order 10857, Dec. 29,
1959; Letter to Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
from Fred A. Seaton, Secretary of the Interior, Apr. 27, 1959 (``I
hereby certify that the Alaska State Legislature has made adequate
provision for the administration, management, and conservation of the
fish and wildlife resources of Alaska in the broad national
interest.''). This general Federal-State relationship was confirmed in
43 CFR 24.1(a), which found that ``Federal authority exists for
specified purposes while State authority regarding fish and resident
wildlife remains the comprehensive backdrop applicable in the absence
of specific, overriding Federal law.''
 This specific Federal-State relationship was also confirmed in
ANILCA, in which Congress established
[[Page 35183]]
and set aside national preserves in Alaska as NPS-administered units
where sport hunting and trapping shall continue being managed by the
State of Alaska, except that the ``Secretary may designate zones where
and periods when no hunting, fishing, trapping, or entry may be
permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, floral and
faunal protection, or public use and enjoyment.'' Public Law 96-487,
Secs. 203, 1313, 1314, 94 Stat. 2483-84; see also S. Rep. No. 96-413,
at 307-08 (1979) (describing the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources' intent to ``preserv[e] the status quo with regard to the
responsibility and authority of the State to manage fish and wildlife,
and . . . [a]t the same time . . . confir[m] the status quo with regard
to the authority of the Secretary to manage the wildlife habitat on
federal lands'' and noting ``the statutory requirement that the taking
of fish and wildlife be allowed does not deprive the Secretary of his
traditional authority to close public lands . . . to the taking of fish
and wildlife under statutory criteria'').
 As stated in a 1981 NPS rulemaking to begin implementing the just-
passed ANILCA, the ``desire to continue sport fishing and hunting on
all public lands in Alaska [was] a consistent and dominant theme of the
public participation process during the development and final passage''
of ANILCA. 46 FR 5642. In 1983, NPS promulgated 36 CFR 2.2(b)(1),
providing that ``[h]unting shall be allowed in park areas where such
activity is specifically mandated by Federal statutory law.'' The NPS
Management Policies provided the following guidance: ``In the
administration of mandated uses, park managers must allow the use;
however, they do have the authority to and must manage and regulate the
use to ensure, to the extent possible, that impacts on park resources
from that use are acceptable.'' Management Policies 2006, Sec. 1.4.3.1.
As described in more detail below, analysis including more recent
harvest data and the best available science does not demonstrate
potential for unacceptable impacts to park resources from removing the
prohibitions at issue in this rule.
 In a 1982 Master Memorandum of Understanding, both the Alaska
Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and NPS agreed that ANILCA ``and
subsequent implementing regulations recognize that the resources and
uses of Service lands in Alaska are substantially different than those
of similar lands in other states and mandate continued subsistence uses
in designated National Parks plus sport hunting and fishing,
subsistence, and trapping uses in National Preserves under applicable
State and Federal laws and regulations[.]'' As outlined above, this
includes NPS authority to, after consultation with ADFG, prohibit sport
hunting, fishing, or trapping ``for reasons of public safety,
administration, floral and faunal protection, or public use and
enjoyment.'' 16 U.S.C. 3201. Although the 2015 rule predominantly
stemmed from finding state authorizations that ``liberalize predator
harvest in areas that included national preserves'' were in ``conflict
with laws and policies applicable to NPS areas that require preserving
natural wildlife populations[,]'' it also referenced a need to
``protect fauna and provide for public use and enjoyment consistent
with ANILCA'' as well as ``public safety concerns associated with
baiting.'' 80 FR 64326, 64329. Whether or to what extent these findings
and reasons continue to apply was examined throughout the course of
this rulemaking, and is explored in greater detail in the Responses to
Comments.
 In addition to reconsidering the 2015 Rule in light of the
requirements in ANILCA, new population data and information, and
Congressional action, the NPS completed an Environmental Assessment,
which was revised after the public comment period on this rule (as
revised, the EA) to analyze the impacts these hunting methods would
have on national preserves in Alaska. Similar to its findings in 2015,
the EA concludes that under this rule, for the foreseeable future,
healthy populations of wildlife will continue to exist in a manner
consistent with the range of natural variability. This conclusion is
based upon the low levels of additional take that are anticipated to
occur under this rule. The NPS's findings regarding low levels of
additional take are based upon harvest data from 2012-2016 that were
not available to the NPS when it promulgated the 2015 Rule. This new
data was provided by the State, and is more fully discussed in the EA
(see EA, section 3.2.2). The conclusions in the EA are also based on
the NPS's authority to take action whenever necessary to protect NPS
resources and values from unacceptable impacts, including implementing
specific, local closures to hunting and trapping pursuant to ANILCA. 16
U.S.C. 3201.
 As stated in the EA, allowing the State regulations to apply within
national preserves is not anticipated to cause population-level
effects, and any reductions in opportunities for take of predator
species over the long-term, or increases in prey species, are expected
to be minimal and localized. Under Article VIII, Section 4, of the
Alaska Constitution, the State manages take of wildlife under a
``sustained yield principle'' which ``denotes conscious application
insofar as practicable of principles of management intended to sustain
the yield of the resource being managed'' and ``balance[s] maximum use
of natural resources with their continued availability to future
generations.'' See The Alaska Constitutional Convention, Proposed
Constitution for the State of Alaska: A Report to the People of Alaska
(1956). In accordance with this principle, which applies to both
predator and prey populations, the State has assured the NPS that, in
the event harvest were to increase beyond sustainable levels, the ADFG
would close seasons by emergency order, if immediate action was
necessary, and/or recommend more conservative seasons, bag limits, and/
or methods to the Alaska Board of Game for future hunting seasons.
 Application of the statutes and policies at issue is addressed in
more detail in the Responses to Comments below, but generally, the NPS
finds that the potential effect of the harvest practices does not
threaten impairment of park resources under the Organic Act or the
maintenance of healthy populations under ANILCA. Having reconsidered
its prior position in light of specific mandates under ANILCA for
Alaska preserves, revised guidance, new information, and the impacts
permitting these hunting methods on national preserves in Alaska would
have, the NPS has now determined that its 2015 characterization of the
harvest methods as conflicting with NPS laws and policies was
inconsistent with applicable law allowing hunting and trapping in
national preserves. For these reasons, as explained in more detail
below, the NPS promulgates this rule.
Proposed Rule and Responses to Comments
 On May 22, 2018, the NPS published the proposed rule in the Federal
Register. 83 FR 23621. This rule was open for an initial 60-day public
comment. The NPS extended the comment period twice, first on July 19,
2018, 83 FR 34094, and again on September 6, 2018, 83 FR 45203, in
response to requests from the public for more time to review the
proposal. In total, the comment period was open for 168 days including
both extensions. The comment period closed on November 6, 2018. The NPS
invited comments through the mail, hand delivery, and through the
Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The NPS
received approximately 211,780 pieces of correspondence on the proposed
rule
[[Page 35184]]
with a total of 489,101 signatures. Of the 211,780 pieces of
correspondence, approximately 176,000 were form letters and
approximately 35,000 were unique comments.
 The NPS also held several government to government consultation
meetings with the State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribes and
corporations. Consultation meetings were requested by the State, 12
tribal entities, and two corporations; meetings were conducted in
February, March, and October of 2018.
 A summary of the pertinent issues raised in the comments received
and NPS responses are provided below. After consultation, considering
public comments, and revising the EA, the NPS did not make any changes
in the final rule.
 1. Comment: Several commenters stated that the proposed rule
violates the mandate in the NPS Organic Act that the NPS regulate the
use of the National Park System to conserve the scenery, natural and
historic objects, and wildlife in such manner and by such means as will
leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. 54
U.S.C. 100101.
 NPS Response: Through the Organic Act, Congress granted the NPS
broad discretion over how to regulate activities within National Park
System units. In national preserves in Alaska, however, Congress
narrowed the scope of the NPS's discretion with respect to the harvest
of wildlife, directing that national preserves shall be managed ``in
the same manner as a national park . . . except that the taking of fish
and wildlife for sport purposes and subsistence uses, and trapping
shall be allowed in a national preserve under applicable State and
Federal law and regulation[.]'' 16 U.S.C. 3201. No specific provision
in the Organic Act as limited by ANILCA prohibits the harvest methods
that are the subject of this rule, and the NPS has determined this rule
will not result in unacceptable impacts or an impairment of park
resources. See Non-Impairment Determination appended to the Finding of
No Significant Impact for the EA. In light of new policy direction,
revised guidance, newly available harvest data showing low levels of
take, State law requiring the management of wildlife under the
sustained yield principle, and a review of the impacts permitting these
hunting methods on national preserves in Alaska would have, the NPS has
determined that its 2015 determination that the harvest practices
violated the Organic Act failed to take into account applicable
statutory requirements under ANILCA.
 The EA concludes that due to the low levels of additional take
anticipated under this rule, and considering the NPS's closure
authority under ANILCA, healthy populations of wildlife will continue
to exist in a manner consistent with the range of natural variability
for the foreseeable future. Finally, for reasons discussed in the
response to Comment 5, the NPS has concluded State management provided
by ANILCA modifies and does not violate applicable NPS Management
Policies that explain how the NPS implements the Organic Act and other
laws that apply to the National Park System. Accordingly, the NPS has
reconsidered its position in the 2015 Rule and concluded that allowing
the hunting practices at issue in this rule would not violate the
Organic Act.
 2. Comment: Several commenters stated that the proposed rule
violates Sec. 101(b) of ANILCA, which states that Congress intends that
the statute provide for the maintenance of sound populations of
wildlife species.
 NPS Response: ANILCA states that Congress intended the statute to
provide for the maintenance of sound populations of, and habitat for,
wildlife species. 16 U.S.C. 3101(b). Specific to national preserves,
each was established to allow for continued hunting and trapping under
State management and, among other reasons, ``to protect habitat for and
populations of fish and wildlife.'' 16 U.S.C. 410hh, 410hh-1. Three
units include references to natural processes and/or biological
processes in describing how the unit is to be managed. 16 U.S.C.
410hh(1) (Aniakchak National Preserve: ``to study, interpret, and
assure continuation of the natural process of biological succession''),
410hh(8) (Noatak National Preserve: ``To maintain the environmental
integrity of the Noatak River and adjacent uplands within the preserve
in such a manner as to assure the continuation of geological and
biological processes unimpaired by adverse human activity''), 410hh(10)
(Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve: ``To maintain the
environmental integrity of the entire Charley River basin, including
streams, lakes and other natural features, in its undeveloped natural
condition for public benefit and scientific study''). Title VIII of
ANILCA, pertaining to subsistence uses, refers multiple times to
managing for ``conservation of healthy populations'' of wildlife in
national preserves. ANILCA also requires the NPS to allow the taking of
wildlife for sport purposes in national preserves under applicable
State and Federal law and regulation. 16 U.S.C. 3201, 3202. Therefore
some level of sport hunting is appropriate and compatible with the
various provisions of the law.
 ANILCA does not address specific harvest methods; rather, it defers
to State fish and game management to establish methods and means and
provides limited closure authority to the NPS for the protection of
resources. It provides that agencies should manage wildlife using
recognized principles of fish and wildlife management. 16 U.S.C.
3101(c), 3112(1). The State's legal framework for managing wildlife in
Alaska is based on the principle of sustained yield, see Alaska
Constitution Article VIII, Section 4, which is defined as ``achievement
and maintenance in perpetuity of the ability to support a high level of
human harvest of game, subject to preferences among beneficial uses, on
an annual or periodic basis.'' AS 16.05.255. The State's constitutional
mandate for sustained yield is consistent with NPS Management Policies,
which state that the NPS ``manages [wildlife] harvest to allow for
self-sustaining populations of harvested species.'' NPS Management
Policies 2006, Sec. 4.4.3. The State asserts that it is legally
obligated to implement this framework in a way that will maintain
sustainable populations of wildlife. The State also maintains that the
effects on wildlife populations from allowing these harvest methods in
particular locations within national preserves will likely be
negligible based on its analysis of similar harvest practices elsewhere
in the state. This conclusion is consistent with the findings in the EA
that population-level effects are not anticipated, and healthy
populations of wildlife would continue to exist in a manner consistent
with the range of natural variability. The State of Alaska assures the
NPS that it is required to and will take immediate action if necessary
to ensure sustainable population levels. This stated approach for
managing wildlife is consistent with the direction in ANILCA to
maintain sound populations of wildlife species.
 The rule also does not diminish the limited closure authority of
the NPS to designate areas and periods of time where sport hunting and
trapping would not be allowed in national preserves for reasons of
public safety, administration, floral and faunal protection, or public
use and enjoyment. 16 U.S.C. 3201. ANILCA specifically granted this
authority to the Secretary, and the NPS could implement specific, local
closures if, when, and where necessary to prevent unacceptable impacts.
For these reasons, this rule is consistent with the requirement in
ANILCA to provide for the maintenance
[[Page 35185]]
of sound populations of wildlife species in national preserves.
 3. Comment: Several commenters expressed confusion about the term
``sport hunting'' and stated that the proposed rule violates ANILCA
because it authorizes methods of sport hunting that are not
``sporting.''
 NPS Response: ANILCA states that ``the taking of fish and wildlife
for sport purposes and subsistence uses, and trapping shall be allowed
in a national preserve under applicable State and Federal law and
regulation.'' 16 U.S.C. 3201. Although ANILCA defines ``subsistence
uses'' under 16 U.S.C. 3113, it does not define ``sport purposes.''
ANILCA defines who may engage in subsistence hunting under Title VIII,
but does not restrict or otherwise define who may engage in sport
hunting in national preserves. ANILCA is also silent in regard to
harvest methods that can, and cannot, be used for sport purposes.
Lacking any indication in the statute that Congress intended the phrase
``sport purposes'' to have a specialized meaning, the NPS finds that
the term was used by Congress merely to distinguish subsistence hunting
from other types of hunting. Thus, it is the NPS's position that
hunting for ``sport purposes'' is the harvest of wildlife in national
preserves in Alaska that is authorized under applicable State and
Federal law and that does not qualify as subsistence hunting under
Title VIII. This represents a change from the 2015 rule in how the NPS
has implemented ANILCA's authorization for sport hunting.
 In ANILCA Sec. 1314, regarding the ``Taking of Fish and Wildlife,''
Congress expressly retained the status quo regarding the respective
responsibilities and authorities of ``the State of Alaska for
management of fish and wildlife on the public lands'' and ``the
Secretary over the management of the public lands.'' 16 U.S.C. 3202.
The legislative history explains that, ``for the National Park System
components, this provision intends to make applicable in Alaskan Parks
and Preserves the same Federal-State relations on fish and wildlife
management that apply in lower 48 State national parks and preserves.''
126 Cong. Rec. S15129, S15131 (Dec. 1, 1980).
 With few exceptions, compendiums in National Park System units
where Congress has mandated hunting, trapping, and fishing are
consistent with State harvest regulations. In its comments on the
proposed rule, the State noted that ``national park units with mandated
hunting in other states also allow activities that the proposed NPS
Alaska rule will allow.'' State of Alaska letter to NPS Regional
Director re: RIN 1024-AE38, p. 13 (Nov. 2, 2018) (2018 State Comments).
This included, at the time, 25 national park units with year-round
coyote seasons, six of which allow the use of artificial light, seven
units which allow hunting black bears with dogs, and four which allow
the harvest of black bears over bait. Moreover, unlike national
preserves in Alaska, some of the units which allow these practices have
explicit statutory closure authority for wildlife management or faunal
protection and management in their enabling legislation.
 The position taken by the NPS in this final rule is supported by
the State's comments on the proposed rule, which likewise determined
that the methods that are the subject of this rule qualify as taking
wildlife for ``sport purposes'' under ANILCA. It also furthers the
direction in Secretary's Order 3356 and the September 10, 2018,
Memorandum that hunting regulations for NPS lands and waters should
complement the regulations on the surrounding lands and waters to the
extent legally practicable.
 4. Comment: Several commenters stated that allowing sport hunters
to use the same harvest methods as subsistence users frustrates
ANILCA's subsistence preference in Title VIII.
 NPS Response: The NPS recognizes that this rule increases harvest
opportunities for individuals hunting under State regulations in
national preserves, which could increase competition with rural Alaska
resident subsistence users in these locations. The NPS does not expect
that the State's allowance of these harvest practices in national
preserves will increase harvest levels to the degree that there are
population-level impacts. This is supported by the NPS's analysis and
conclusions in its ANILCA Section 810 Subsistence Evaluation and
Finding appended to the EA. Qualified rural Alaska resident subsistence
users will continue to have the opportunity to hunt in accordance with
Federal subsistence regulations. Title VIII of ANILCA ensures rural
Alaska residents have a priority for customary and traditional
consumptive uses of fish and wildlife resources in national preserves
in Alaska where conservation concerns require limitations on harvest.
16 U.S.C. 3114. This rule does not change the methods and means for
Federal subsistence harvest in national preserves and does not change
the priority for subsistence uses in ANILCA. The Federal Subsistence
Board has the authority to address competition among user groups in a
variety of ways in order to provide a priority for rural Alaska
resident subsistence users where there is a conservation concern.
 Further, rural Alaska resident subsistence users may harvest
wildlife in national preserves under Federal subsistence regulations or
State regulations, depending on the advantage. Some of the State
authorizations that would no longer be prohibited under this rule were
initially requested by rural Alaska resident subsistence users to allow
cultural and traditional harvest and resource management practices to
continue in their use area, which can include proposals to the State of
Alaska Board of Game and/or the Federal Subsistence Board to either
allow for or prevent certain harvest practices from being allowed in
Alaska preserves.
 For example, in addressing proposals to allow take of cubs and
females with cubs in dens as ``an opportunity for local people to take
meat and to practice these customary and traditional methods,'' the
Alaska Board of Game clarified the limited allowance was ``an attempt
to move towards this goal of recognizing some of the customary and
traditional practices that go on out in the Bush. A way people get food
. . . this is in no way part of any predator management program.'' See
Transcript of Nov. 10, 2008 Public Meeting of the Alaska Board of Game,
quoted in 2018 State Comments, Att. C, at p. 70. This perspective is
supported by the proposals to the Board, which reasoned that the fact
``these practices were conducted for generations without any
substantial, long-lasting or irreversible effects to predator
populations is testimony to their ecological integrity, as well as
substantiating assertions by Alaska's indigenous people that their
traditional harvest activities were/are essentially a part of the
evolved ecosystem(s).'' Proposal 55 from Orutsararmiut Native Council
to the Alaska Board of Game (Nov. 2008).
 Subsistence users can also participate directly in the Federal
Subsistence Management Program through statewide Subsistence Regional
Advisory Councils, and Subsistence Resource Commissions advising on
specific NPS-administered areas. The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Subsistence Resource Commission has requested the 2015 rule be
rescinded multiple times. At its October 2018 meeting, the Western
Interior Subsistence Regional Advisory Council voted unanimously to
support the adoption of State regulations in Alaska preserves, as
proposed in this rule. Some concerns for subsistence users tend to
reflect the complexity of regulating harvest in
[[Page 35186]]
Alaska, which council members agreed would be simplified by ``having
Federal, State, and Park Service regulations match each other as much
as possible.'' Transcript of Oct. 10, 2018 Public Meeting of the
Western Interior Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council at p.
86:10-12.
 The Eastern Interior Subsistence Regional Advisory Council
maintained a similar position in its comments on the proposed rule. The
Council found the ``regulations proposed for removal interfere with
long-standing cultural practices of rural residents on and off park
lands. Wildlife does not recognize administrative boundaries, so the
application of different rules on NPS and State lands in areas of mixed
land administration creates confusion and intrusion into traditional
practices, which interferes with wildlife conservation. In addition,
these rules are inconsistent with the rules adopted by the Federal
Subsistence Board, adding unnecessary confusion for rural residents.''
Eastern Interior Subsistence Regional Advisory Council letter to NPS
Regional Director, p. 2 (Nov. 5, 2018). The Council also noted that the
2015 rule had been ``adopted despite the Council's strong objection to
it based on potential negative effects on Federally qualified
subsistence users[,]'' including their ``abilities to continue
traditional practices with their families, while only allowing `sport'
uses on National Preserves.'' Id. The Council continued to observe that
``[m]any rural subsistence users hunt and trap under general State
regulations and greatly benefit from those more liberal methods,
seasons, and bag limits.'' Eastern Interior Subsistence Regional
Advisory Council letter to NPS Regional Director, p. 2 (Nov. 20, 2014).
 5. Comment: Several commenters stated that the proposed rule
violates Sec. 4.4.3 of NPS Management Policies with regard to
prohibiting predator control. Several commenters stated that the
proposed rule violates Secs. 4.1, 4.4.1, 4.4.1.2, 4.4.2 of NPS
Management Policies with regard to protecting natural ecosystems and
processes.
 NPS Response: NPS Management Policies explain how the NPS generally
will implement the laws that apply to the National Park System,
including the NPS Organic Act, and explain how the NPS will manage
activities on lands and waters within the System. NPS Management
Policies state that the legislative requirements of ANILCA, although
not cited directly in the various policies, must be complied with in
the interpretation and application of the management policies. NPS
Management Policies 2006, Hierarchy of Authorities. NPS Management
Policies can only be applied in a manner consistent with ANILCA's
mandates, including the special status of the national preserves as
park units where hunting and trapping are allowed under State and
Federal law. As explained in the response to Comment 2, ANILCA provides
for the management of sound populations, with the purposes for three
units calling for maintenance of natural and/or biological processes,
while at the same time mandating sport hunting.
 While NPS Management Policies state that ``activities to reduce the
numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing numbers of
harvested species (i.e. predator control)'' are not allowed on lands
managed by the NPS, NPS Management Policies 2006, Sec. 4.4.3, ANILCA
provides that the ``taking of fish and wildlife for sport purposes and
subsistence uses, and trapping shall be allowed in a national preserve
under applicable State and Federal law and regulation[,]'' 16 U.S.C.
3201. It is the NPS' position that hunting for ``sport purposes'' is
the harvest of wildlife in national preserves in Alaska that is
authorized under applicable State and Federal law and that does not
qualify as subsistence hunting under Title VIII, as outlined in the
response to Comment 3. The NPS is also not allowing these hunting
practices in national preserves in Alaska for the purpose of reducing
predators, because the State has not provided for predator control
activities in Alaska preserves. The State of Alaska's purpose in
authorizing these practices is to expand hunting opportunities, rather
than as part of a formal predator control or other program designed to
reduce a population below sustainable levels. See 2018 State Comments,
at p. 22.
 In the 2015 Rule, the NPS concluded that the harvest methods
prohibited by that rule were inconsistent with NPS Management Policies
in Sec. 4.4.3 because the NPS believed that the State's allowance of
those methods was motivated by the goal of increasing the number of
prey species. The NPS recognizes that requests submitted to the State
of Alaska for liberalized harvest methods in game management units
(GMUs) that include land within national preserves may have been
motivated by a desire to reduce predators in order to increase prey.
The NPS also recognizes that individual board members may have voted
based in part on a desire to reduce predators. Nonetheless, these are
management considerations reserved to the State under ANILCA. The State
has shown that ``general hunting and trapping regulations are developed
under sustained yield concepts for both predator and prey populations
where there is a harvestable surplus,'' and are distinct from actions
which ``aim to reduce predator populations and improve prey
populations.'' Id. The State has also explained that the harvest
methods that are the subject of this rule ``simply reflect the
existence of an abundant population of wildlife and a small segment of
the public's desire to hunt them that fit within the sustained yield
concept of scientific management Alaska follows.'' Id. at p. 18.
 The NPS acknowledges that the State made similar assertions about
the purpose of the harvest methods subject to this rule in its comments
on the 2015 Rule and related environmental assessment (2014 EA), and
that the NPS reached a different conclusion then. In reaching this
conclusion, the NPS has carefully considered its statutory requirements
and authorities, including that its policies must be applied consistent
with ANILCA, all of the State's representations and explanations
regarding its purposes for the harvest practices, as well as the fact
that the NPS's own environmental analysis finds that allowing the
harvest methods identified in this rule will still support healthy
populations of wildlife within preserves. These findings are supported
by 2012-2016 harvest data provided by the State to the NPS. The NPS is
also now viewing the State's communications from the perspective
inspired by Congressional disapproval and required by revised guidance
and policy direction announced by the Secretary since the promulgation
of the 2015 Rule. The NPS has determined that the State's
representations and explanations regarding the authorizations at issue,
as well as the legal and administrative requirements that support them,
are more relevant to NPS action than the motivations of individual
requesters or state game board members, especially in light of the
recent reiteration of the State's position.
 Finally, the EA concludes that the hunting practices at issue will
not have a significant effect on predator and prey populations and
therefore will not have the effect of predator reduction or predator
control, regardless of any perception of the purpose of the hunting
practices. Based upon the NPS's purpose in complying with its statutory
responsibilities to allow for harvest opportunities under State and
Federal law, the State's comments on the 2015 Rule, and the State's
November 2018 letter asserting that such activities serve to provide
hunter opportunity rather than to reduce predators or increase
[[Page 35187]]
prey, and on the lack of any significant effect of predator reduction
in practice, the NPS concludes these hunting activities do not violate
Sec. 4.4.3 of the NPS Management Policies in light of the specific
statutory requirements related to national preserves.
 Several provisions of NPS Management Policies require the NPS to
protect natural ecosystems and processes, including the natural
abundances, diversities, distributions, densities, age-class
distributions, populations, habitats, genetics, and behaviors of
wildlife. NPS Management Policies 2006, Secs. 4.1, 4.4.1, 4.4.1.2,
4.4.2. These policies can be read to be at odds with hunting and
trapping, and so it is understandable that Congress established
national preserves, new and distinct units of the National Park System
where the differentiating characteristic is that harvest is allowed
under State and Federal law. As mentioned above, while the NPS
Management Policies call for maintaining natural populations, they must
be read in the context of ANILCA's specific legal mandate to allow
sport hunting in national preserves, which by its very nature is a
human intrusion upon natural cycles, and ANILCA's call for preserves to
be managed for sound populations of wildlife using limited closure
authority. By specifically mandating that hunting be allowed, Congress
intended to authorize management for something less than populations
untouched by human influence, and this is how the NPS and the State
have managed national preserves since ANILCA was enacted.
 Section 1.4.3.1 of NPS Management Policies provides that, ``[i]n
the administration of mandated uses, park managers must allow the use;
however, they do have the authority to and must manage and regulate the
use to ensure, to the extent possible, that impacts on park resources
from that use are acceptable.'' ANILCA limits this authority to
closures for specified purposes, including the protection of wildlife.
The State maintains that any effects to the natural abundances,
diversities, distributions, densities, age-class distributions,
populations, habitats, genetics, and behaviors of wildlife from
implementing its regulations are likely negligible. ADFG letter to NPS
Regional Director re: RIN 1024-AE21 (Nov. 26, 2014) (2014 State
Comments). While data are limited, the State reports that increased
harvest opportunities provided by its regulations have not resulted in
meaningful effects on predator or prey abundance. Based upon the
analysis in the EA, the NPS believes additional take that could occur
from the harvest methods identified in this rule, as currently allowed
by the State, would not likely alter natural predator-prey dynamics at
the population level or have a significant foreseeable adverse impact
to wildlife populations (including natural variability in terms of the
range of natural variability), or otherwise impair park resources. As
noted above, the NPS retains the authority to designate areas and
periods of time where sport hunting and trapping would not be allowed
in national preserves for purposes of protecting wildlife. 16 U.S.C.
3201. For these reasons, the NPS does not believe these harvest
practices violate NPS Management Policies Secs. 4.1, 4.4.1, 4.4.1.2,
4.4.2.
 6. Comment: Several commenters stated that the proposed rule does
not advance the purposes of Secretary's Orders 3347 and 3356 because it
would only affect harvest opportunities on 6% of lands in the State of
Alaska and would not have any effect on harvest under Federal
subsistence regulations.
 NPS Response: Section 1 of Secretary's Order 3347 identifies the
purpose of the Order by stating that the Department of the Interior
shall increase ``outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting
and fishing, for all Americans.'' Section 2 says that the Department
will ``expand recreational and conservation opportunities for all
Americans,'' including through the ``expansion and enhancement of
hunting opportunities.'' Section 4.b.(4) of Secretary's Order 3356
directs the NPS to identify whether hunting opportunities on NPS lands
could be expanded.
 Allowing hunting and trapping opportunities under State law on
national preserves is consistent with the direction in Secretary's
Orders 3347 and 3356. The Orders do not establish a minimum acreage,
percentage of the hunting population, or access threshold that would
qualify as an expansion of hunting opportunities as that policy goal is
articulated in the Orders. This rule would remove Federal restrictions
on harvest methods that currently apply to hunters on more than
22,000,000 acres of NPS-administered land.
 In addition to allowing for State hunting and trapping
opportunities, this rule would comply with the direction in Secretary's
Order 3356 to more closely align NPS management of wildlife with that
of the State. Section 4.d. of Secretary's Order 3356 requires the NPS
to work cooperatively with State wildlife agencies to ensure that
hunting regulations for NPS lands and waters complement the regulations
on the surrounding lands and waters to the extent legally practicable.
As stated above, this rule more closely aligns with Federal law by
aligning hunting opportunities in national preserves with hunting
opportunities allowed by the State of Alaska on surrounding lands,
ensuring State law applies inside the preserves.
 7. Comment: Several commenters stated that bear baiting creates a
public safety hazard. Commenters noted that bait stations are often
placed near roads and trails without proper signage which further
increases the public safety risk and the risk of bears being taken in
defense of life or property.
 NPS Response: The NPS acknowledges that negative human-bear
interactions occur throughout the State. It is difficult to determine,
however, which if any such interactions are attributable to bears
obtaining food rewards specifically from bear baiting. That said, the
NPS recognizes that some bears that are attracted to bait stations, but
not harvested, could pose a threat to public safety. Further, such
bears may be more prone to being taken in defense of life or property.
The NPS also recognizes that bears occur throughout Alaska and that
people engaging in outdoor activities on NPS lands may encounter them.
Adverse human-bear interactions are rare, but the consequences of such
interactions can be severe (serious injury or death).
 Bear baiting in national preserves would occur in the midst of
nearly 20 million acres of very sparsely populated and remote areas,
with few visitor facilities or services on site, if any. Human-bear
interactions from bear baiting are likely to be rare--except for
hunters seeking bears--both due to the lack of observed bear
conditioning to associate bait stations with humans and the relatively
few people in such remote areas to interact with bears. The State
registers thousands of black bear bait stations yearly, and has done so
for many years, but to date, it and other states which allow this
practice have not detected problems that can be directly attributed to
bear baiting. See 2014 State Comments, Att., at p. 14. The State also
noted that ``[e]stablishing, maintaining and cleaning up bear bait
stations involves significant labor and materials and is typically
conducted off of road or trail systems. All but one preserve in Alaska
is many miles from the road system and hunters are not likely to use
those areas for this use due to the extra cost and effort involved when
easier to access locations are available.'' 2018 State Comments, Att.
B, at p. 54.
[[Page 35188]]
 Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations for bear bait
stations will serve to mitigate risk to public safety, as they include
requirements for site registration, signage, site cleanup and removal,
and minimum distances from maintained roads, trails, houses, businesses
and developed recreational facilities. The NPS will work with the State
to take actions to sustain and improve compliance with these risk-
mitigation regulations and will attempt to address any site-specific
issues related to bear baiting through the Alaska Board of Game, to the
maximum extent allowed by Federal law. ANILCA continues to provide the
ability to enact specific closures if necessary in the future.
 The NPS recognizes that, even with safety measures in place, the
practice of bear baiting could increase the frequency of adverse human-
bear interactions for visitors to national preserves. The EA observes
that, ``[b]y design, baiting of bears alters their behavior to increase
their predictability and facilitate harvest.'' EA, Sec. 3.2.2. Herrero
(2002:41-44) referred to bears that become used to people through
regular contact as ``habituated'' bears, and noted that if such bears
also obtain food rewards, such as garbage that they associate with
people, they can become ``food conditioned.'' Habituated and food
conditioned bears are more likely to become a nuisance and be taken in
defense of life or property, and they pose an elevated public safety
risk. Herrero (1970, 1976, 2002).
 However, bear baiting differs in that bears do not necessarily
associate baits with humans, and thus may not become food conditioned
or habituated, as defined by Herrero (2002). Paquet (1991:2), cited in
Hristienko and McDonald (2007) reported that bears exposed to bait in
Manitoba did not become nuisance animals. Similarly, in its decades of
experience, the State has found ``no evidence to support the claim that
use of bait leads to food conditioned bears. Instead all information
indicates just the opposite, which is that in areas where bear baiting
is allowed there are fewer Defense of Life and Property (DLP) and
agency kills.'' 2018 State Comments, Att. B, at pp. 52-53; see also
2014 State Comments, Att., at p. 10 (arguing against the claim that
prohibiting bear baiting would reduce nuisance bears as ``contrary to
the observations of subsistence users, state wildlife biologists, and
state law enforcement officers that baiting can help to reduce nuisance
bear problems'').
 ANILCA and the Organic Act provide for a variety of public uses in
national preserves, and some of the uses inherently detract from
others, for example flightseeing and backcountry camping in designated
wilderness. In these and many other cases, the NPS must exercise its
discretion in managing competing authorized or mandated uses. Here,
considering that habituation and safety issues related to bear baiting
are expected to be rare, and the authority the NPS has to enact local
closures if and where necessary, the NPS is removing Federal
prohibitions on the harvest methods that are the subject of this rule.
This will allow the State to determine whether bear baiting is allowed
within national preserves consistent with ANILCA, and will also ensure
State mitigations for human-bear interactions can be employed.
 8. Comment: Several commenters stated that bear baiting is
inconsistent with the NPS's efforts to educate visitors about the risks
of feeding wildlife and the importance of securing food to prevent
adverse human-bear interactions.
 NPS Response: Consistent with NPS regulations that prohibit feeding
wildlife, the NPS advises park visitors not to feed wildlife and to
keep food and other attractants secure in order to avoid attracting
bears. ANILCA allows sport hunting under State law, however, and State
regulations allow individuals to take bears over bait in specific
areas, some of which may be located within national preserves. If there
is a tension between allowing bear baiting and prohibiting visitors
from feeding bears, this is to be resolved in management
considerations. The NPS's approach on this issue is informed by the
Congressional mandate to allow sport hunting under State law. As stated
above, the State has adopted regulations for bait stations to help
prevent adverse human-bear interactions. Additionally, as noted in the
EA, bear baiting differs from the act of feeding bears, in that bears
do not necessarily associate baits with humans, Hristienko and McDonald
(2007), and thus may not become food conditioned or habituated, Herrero
(2002). Visitor feeding of bears, both in Alaska and elsewhere (such as
Yellowstone National Park), has resulted in bears associating humans
with food.
 9. Comment: Several commenters stated that bear baiting violates
the Wilderness Act by degrading the untrammeled and undeveloped
qualities of wilderness character.
 NPS Response: State management practices, including bear baiting,
are allowed by ANILCA in the national preserves, including within
designated wilderness. As discussed in the EA, implementation of this
rule would have a minimal adverse impact on the untrammeled quality of
wilderness in small and scattered locations by intentionally altering
wildlife behavior. In addition, the presence of bear bait stations and
associated debris would temporarily, in such small and scattered
locations, degrade the undeveloped quality of wilderness. Overall, due
to the low level of additional take expected under the proposed action,
and the large areas of designated wilderness in national parks and
preserves in Alaska, wilderness character would continue to exist in a
manner similar to current conditions in accordance with statutory
requirements in ANILCA and the Wilderness Act.
 Furthermore, ANILCA provides that designated wilderness is to be
administered in accordance with the Wilderness Act except as otherwise
expressly provided for by ANILCA. ANILCA includes several special
provisions for wilderness areas in Alaska. These special provisions are
referred to as ``non-conforming'' uses. Relevant to sport hunting,
ANILCA requires the NPS to permit, subject to reasonable regulation to
ensure compatibility, the establishment and use of temporary facilities
and equipment directly and necessarily related to the taking of
wildlife. 16 U.S.C. 3204(a). The establishment and use of bait stations
in wilderness areas for the purpose of taking bears under State laws
and regulations qualifies as an allowed, non-conforming use under this
provision. The State requirements pertaining to clean-up and prompt
removal of bait stations are consistent with protection of the areas
while allowing for the Congressionally-mandated activity of sport
hunting under applicable State and Federal law and regulation within
national preserves.
 For these reasons, although bear baiting has minimal adverse
impacts to wilderness character in small and scattered locations, this
rule would not impair wilderness character and would ensure compliance
with both ANILCA and the Wilderness Act.
 10. Comment: Some commenters stated available data are inadequate
to evaluate the impact of liberalized hunting regulations on predators
or prey. Some stated the proposed rule disregards scientific
recommendations and conclusions made to and by the NPS through the
public consultation process for the 2015 rule.
 NPS Response: The NPS recognizes that data necessary to evaluate
potential impacts of hunting on predators and their prey are difficult
and costly to
[[Page 35189]]
obtain. Neither the NPS nor the State of Alaska consistently collect
population-level abundance or demographic data for black bears, brown
bears, or wolves in GMUs that overlap with national preserves. Rather,
the NPS typically evaluates historical harvest data, often in the
context of evaluating proposals submitted to the Alaska Board of Game,
to determine if significant impacts on predator populations are likely.
Similarly, in preparing the EA, the NPS analyzed harvest data provided
by the State for black bears, brown bears, and wolves in GMUs
overlapping national preserves. National preserves composed less than
11% of the land area of those GMUs, so hunting regulations in each GMU
were largely unconstrained by the 2015 Rule or prior restrictions
imposed by the NPS. Based in part on harvest data from 2012-2016 and
consideration of potential additional harvest under current State
regulations allowed by this rule, the NPS determined that, in general,
meaningful population-level impacts on black bears, brown bears, or
wolves are unlikely. The NPS will continue to work with the State to
obtain and analyze harvest and population data, with particular
attention to the most easily accessible areas. The NPS retains the
authority under ANILCA to designate areas and periods of time where
sport hunting and trapping would not be allowed in national preserves
for purposes of protecting wildlife.
 In making its determinations, the NPS did not disregard scientific
recommendations or conclusions arising from the public consultation
process for the 2015 Rule. The 2015 Rule was based upon ``the NPS legal
and policy framework[.]'' 80 FR 64328 (Frequently Asked Questions
section). The NPS evaluated predator harvest and its influence on
predator-prey systems in the context of population-level (i.e., GMU-
scale) impacts rather than localized impacts. See EA, Sec. 3.2.2.
Further, the overall conclusion in the Finding of No Significant Impact
(FONSI) for the EA supporting the current rule--a determination that
the proposed action will not result in significant adverse impacts--is
consistent with NPS statements made in the Finding of No Significant
Impact for the 2015 Rule, which noted how neither of its alternatives
was ``likely to have a significant effect on park resources.''
 The NPS reached its conclusions in the EA and FONSI that support
the current rule by evaluating the management implications of available
scientific literature and other data, some of which is new information
not used or available during the public consultation process for the
2015 rule. With regard to effects on wildlife, the 2014 EA stated,
``[l]ocalized effects on individual animals, family groups, and packs
may be substantial (e.g., direct mortality, increased mortality risk
due to loss of family or group members, and food conditioning).'' The
EA supporting the current rule reaches a similar conclusion relative to
mortality risks; however, the effects were not found to be
``substantial.'' As documented in the EA, the NPS considered harvest
data from 2012-2016 and determined that there is likely to be only a
low level of additional take of predators from preserves under the
proposed action.
 With regard to impacts related to bear baiting, data not included
in the 2015 Rule and EA, cited in Hristienko and McDonald (2007),
suggest that, when managed correctly, there is no evidence to suggest
that black bears exposed to baits are destined to become problem bears.
See EA, Sec. 3.2.2. The EA supporting the current rule clarifies that
food conditioned bears are those that become habituated to humans
first, then learn to associate food with humans and thereby become a
potential nuisance and public safety risk. Herrero (2002). Therefore,
baiting that is conducted in a manner consistent with required
mitigations (e.g., signage, setback, cleanup) is unlikely to result in
food conditioning.
 The NPS acknowledges that several sources included in the 2014 EA
are not used in the EA supporting the current rule. During its review
of Boertje et al. (2012) for the current rule, the NPS determined the
study does not apply as used in the 2014 EA because that study included
impacts of targeted wolf control actions on the nutritional status and
distribution of caribou. Such actions contrast with the practices that
would be allowed under this rule, which are intended to expand hunting
opportunities in preserves rather than to reduce predator populations.
 Commenters also pointed out that the following sources included in
the 2014 EA are not included in the current EA: Barber-Meyer et al.
(2008), Beschta and Ripple (2010), Evans et al. (2006), Ripple et al.
(2014), and Ruth et al. (2004). These sources were cited once in the
2014 EA to support the conclusion that, when striving to maintain
natural processes, some consideration of the effects of designed
management perturbations on an entire suite of species, their
interactions, trophic cascades, and system stability is necessary. The
NPS acknowledges and has considered these concepts, but based on the
entirety of the information reviewed during the EA process, the NPS has
determined that population-level effects that would alter the natural
processes listed are unlikely. The NPS will continue to work with the
State to monitor harvest and, where practicable, status of predator and
prey populations, and retains the authority under ANILCA to designate
areas and periods of time where sport hunting and trapping would not be
allowed.
Final Rule
 The NPS is removing paragraphs (f) and (g) of 36 CFR 13.42.
Paragraph (f) states that State of Alaska management actions or laws or
regulations that authorize taking of wildlife are not adopted in park
areas if they are related to predator reduction efforts, which are
defined as efforts with the intent or potential to alter or manipulate
natural predator-prey dynamics and associated natural ecological
processes, in order to increase harvest of ungulates by humans.
Removing this provision will expand harvest opportunities, complement
regulations on lands and waters within and surrounding national
preserves, and defer to the State in regard to fish and wildlife
management, which is consistent with the NPS Organic Act, ANILCA, and
43 CFR part 24. This provision has not been utilized by the NPS since
it was promulgated in 2015 and the NPS believes that removing it will
help provide regulatory certainty to park users about what hunting
practices are or are not allowed in national preserves.
 Paragraph (g) sets forth a table of prohibited methods of taking
wildlife for sport purposes in national preserves in Alaska. Most of
these prohibited methods are also prohibited by the State of Alaska.
Some of them, however, conflict with authorizations by the State of
Alaska as explained above.
 The NPS believes that removing paragraphs (f) and (g) is consistent
with Congressional direction for the management of Alaska preserves and
will better implement the policy direction announced in Secretary's
Orders 3347 and 3356 by increasing hunting opportunities in national
preserves and promoting consistency between Federal regulations and
State wildlife harvest regulations. In addition, this rule removes the
definitions of ``Big game'', ``Cub bear'', ``Fur animal'', and
``Furbearer'' from Sec. 13.1 because those terms are only used in
paragraphs (f) and (g).
[[Page 35190]]
Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders and Department Policy
Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)
 Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget will review
all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
has determined that this rule is significant because it will raise
novel legal or policy issues.
 Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order
12866 while calling for improvements in the Nation's regulatory system
to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best,
most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory
ends. The Executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory
approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of
choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible,
and consistent with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563
emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available
science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public
participation and an open exchange of ideas. The NPS has developed this
rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.
Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (Executive Order
13771)
 Enabling regulations are considered deregulatory under guidance
implementing E.O. 13771 (M-17-21). This rule would remove prohibitions
on certain methods of taking wildlife for sport purposes in national
preserves in Alaska, thereby enabling those activities where they are
allowed by State law.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
 This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a
substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility
Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the cost-
benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the report
entitled ``Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses: Proposed
Revisions to Sport Hunting and Trapping Regulations in National
Preserves in Alaska'' which can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/akro.
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act
 This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
 (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million
or more.
 (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for
consumers, individual industries, Federal, state, or local government
agencies, or geographic regions.
 (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition,
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)
 This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per
year. This rule does not have a significant or unique effect on state,
local or tribal governments or the private sector. It addresses public
use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other
agencies or governments. A statement containing the information
required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required.
Takings (Executive Order 12630)
 This rule does not effect a taking of private property or otherwise
have takings implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings
implication assessment is not required.
Federalism (Executive Order 13132)
 Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this rule
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the
preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. This rule only
affects use of federally administered lands and waters, and seeks to
align Federal and state regulations on lands and waters within and
surrounding the preserves. A federalism summary impact statement is not
required.
Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)
 This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988.
This rule:
 (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all
regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be
written to minimize litigation; and
 (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all
regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal
standards.
Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department
Policy)
 The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its
government-to government relationship with Indian Tribes through a
commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their
right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this
rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the
Department's tribal consultation and Alaska Native Claims Settlement
Act (ANCSA) Native Corporation policies and have determined that this
rule may have substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian
tribes. The NPS invited Alaska Native tribes and corporations to
consult on the proposed rule and has consulted with those tribes and
corporations that have requested consultation.
Paperwork Reduction Act
 This rule does not contain information collection requirements, and
a submission to the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork
Reduction Act is not required. The NPS may not conduct or sponsor and
you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless
it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
National Environmental Policy Act
 This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly
affecting the quality of the human environment. The NPS prepared the EA
and determined that a detailed statement under the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required because the NPS
reached the FONSI. The EA and FONSI are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/akro.
Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)
 This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition
in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects in not
required.
List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 13
 Alaska, National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
 In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service amends
36 CFR part 13 as set forth below:
PART 13--NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA
0
1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows:
[[Page 35191]]
 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3124; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102;
Sec. 13.1204 also issued under Sec. 1035, Pub. L. 104-333, 110 Stat.
4240.
Sec. 13.1 [Amended]
0
2. In Sec. 13.1 remove the definitions of ``Big game'', ``Cub bear'',
``Fur animal'', and ``Furbearer''.
Sec. 13.42 [Amended]
0
3. In Sec. 13.42, remove and reserve paragraphs (f) and (g).
George Wallace,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2020-10877 Filed 6-8-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P